Beyond emotion: Depression creates disconnect for Canadians at home, with friends and in the workplace

    National survey finds functional impairment due to depression negatively
    impacts Canadians' relationships and work performance

    TORONTO, July 6 /CNW/ - A new national survey on depression reveals that
despite their impact on a person's daily life, disabling functional symptoms -
difficulty concentrating or making decisions, lack of motivation and loss of
interest or pleasure in nearly all activities(1) - are taking a backseat to
discussion around emotional symptoms during patient-physician interactions.
    "Most patients will speak with their physicians about being worried or
feelings of sadness commonly associated with depression, but they're not
always elevating the discussion to include the impact functional symptoms are
having on their lives," said Dr. Jeff Habert, family physician. "This survey
is a wake-up call, highlighting why we need to pay closer attention to
restoring patients' ability to engage in all settings of everyday life, and
not just look at how they are feeling."
    Results from the survey show that the vast majority (96 per cent) of
Canadian physicians recognize depression as one of the top three leading
causes of disability.(2) In fact, depression is the most commonly cited
disability by physicians. Despite this recognition, only half (50 per cent) of
patients report often having a discussion around functional issues with their
physician.(2) Less than four-in-10 say they often discuss their ability to
handle family responsibilities (38 per cent), their ability to function at
work (31 per cent), or depression's impact on personal relationships (28 per
cent).(2) These results are surprising given nine-in-10 patients are at least
somewhat concerned about the functional impact of depression, with 62 per cent
being 'very concerned.'(2)
    "The good news is that the relationship between patients and physicians
is perceived as a positive one," said Phil Upshall, National Executive
Director, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, commenting on the finding that 85
per cent of patients are satisfied with their ability to talk about the topics
and issues most important to them.(2) "By proactively discussing the impact
depression is having on their ability to handle responsibilities at home and
at work, Canadians can more effectively partner with their doctors to ensure
the best approach to treatment and care."


    An estimated three million Canadians will experience depression in their
lifetime, and most will be affected in their working years, between the ages
of 24 and 44.(3) Depression can have a significant impact on productivity in
the workplace but the survey suggests many physicians may not fully appreciate
this fact. When experiencing depression symptoms, working respondents
identified that they spend an average of two hours per working day on
non-work-related activities. In addition, 42 per cent report leaving work
early - however, only 23 per cent of physicians reported this specific coping
mechanism coming up in discussions.(2)
    Fifty-five per cent of working respondents are worried that such a
decrease in their work performance may be misconstrued as a lack of interest
in their job, and of these, 73 per cent feel this could make them vulnerable
to layoffs in the current economic environment.(2) In fact, the majority of
depressed Canadians surveyed (seven-in-10) have experienced significant
disruption at some point in their working career as a result of their
depression symptoms including quitting a job (35 per cent), taking short- or
long-term disability leave (33 and 29 per cent, respectively), or losing a job
(25 per cent).(2)
    "It is especially concerning when the impact of depression is resulting
in life changing circumstances like losing your income because of a condition
that can be managed," said Paula Allen, Vice President Organizational
Solutions, Shepell.fgi. "It's imperative that employers identify solutions
that can help employees better manage emotional, physical and functional
symptoms in the workplace."
    The functional symptoms of depression also go beyond the nine-to-five
workday, extending into personal relationships and extra-curricular
activities. Eight-in-10 Canadians with depression said they suffer from a
reduced ability to enjoy favourite activities (80 per cent) and feelings of
isolation or lack of involvement with family and friends (74 per cent).(2)


    The monitoring of patients with depression is often based on informal
physician interactions that can lead to evaluations that do not quantify
progress. In mental health care, standardized scales to quantify outcomes
exist, but are not always used. Of the physicians surveyed, nearly nine-in-10
(87 per cent) who have used a scale find it helpful.(2) Yet only 33 per cent
of physicians familiar with a tool that specifically tracks functional
impairment (Sheehan Disability Scale)(4) report using it 'sometimes.'
Furthermore, eight-in-10 patients (79 per cent) whose doctors have used a
scale to monitor their progress agree it is helpful and report better overall
satisfaction with treatment versus patients who have not been exposed to such
    "When dealing with mental health issues, we don't always adopt the same
basic principles of using tools to track patient progress as other disease
areas," said Dr. Habert. "Through the incorporation of tools such as the
Sheehan Disability Scale, there is a real opportunity to evolve the management
of depression beyond remission, returning patients to active and productive


    Conducted by Leger Marketing and sponsored by Wyeth Canada in partnership
with Mood Disorders Society of Canada and Shepell.fgi, the survey consisted of
two online questionnaires; one survey was conducted among Canadian adults
diagnosed with depression and another among Canadian physicians. The patient
survey was conducted between April 8 and April 24, 2009, using a national
random sample of 802 respondents from a medical web panel who have been
diagnosed with depression and are currently taking antidepressants or stopped
taking them within the past year or less. This method simulates a probability
sample which would yield a maximum margin of error of +/-3.5%, 19 times out of
20. The physician survey was conducted between April 6th and April 27th, 2009
using a national random sample of 150 physicians from a medical web panel who
are currently treating patients taking antidepressants (100 general
practitioners (GP's) and 50 psychiatrists).


    The Mood Disorders Society of Canada (MDSC) is a national, not for
profit, consumer driven, voluntary health charity committed to ensuring that
the voice of consumers, family members and caregivers is heard on issues
relating to mental health and mental illness and in particular with regard to
depression, bipolar illness and other associated mood disorders. Its website - - provides resources and support on depression and
other types of mood disorders.


    For 30 years, Shepell.fgi has been Canada's leading provider of health
and productivity solutions. Serving 7,000 clients and more than 8 million
employees and family members, Shepell.fgi strengthens the health of people and
organizations across North America and internationally.


    Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and
health care products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development,
manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology
products and non-prescription medicines that improve the quality of life for
people worldwide. Wyeth Canada (, an affiliate of Wyeth, employs
over 1,700 people across the country with a commercial head office in Markham,
Ontario and manufacturing and R&D facilities in Montréal, Québec.

    Video B-roll available via satellite Monday, July 6 at:

    10:00-10:30 and again at 14:00-14:30


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    (1) Adapted from DSM-IV-TR(R). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric
        Association; 2000: 349 - 356.
    (2) Leger Marketing. National Survey on Depression
    (3) Canadian Mental Health Association
        Accessed June 5, 2009.
    (4) Centre for Quality Assessment & Improvement in Mental Health Accessed March 1, 2009

For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Santillan, Edelman, Tel: (416)
979-1120, ext. 351,

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